RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Men's Soccer team will kick-off their 2018 season this weekend by hosting two home games at Sports Backers Stadium. The Rams will open up the season against Georgia Southern on Friday, Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. and Radford on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m.
Last season, the Rams earned the No. 16 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and hosted Butler in the second round. VCU finished with an overall record of 12-7 and a 6-2 record in the Atlantic 10. VCU also made it to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship match for the third consecutive season. The Rams lost their top three goal scorers but return valuable players in junior midfielder Siad Haji, junior midfielder Fortia Munts and sophomore goalkeeper Mario Sequeira.
Haji led the team and ranked second in the A-10 in assists with eight and added two goals in 19 games. Haji was selected to the A-10 Preseason All-Conference team. In 18 games, Muntz ranked third on the team in assists with four and also added two goals. Sequeira played in 18 games as a true freshman and his 0.96 goals-against average ranked him second in the A-10.
Sequeira and Ulrik Edvardsen were both named to the Top 100 Freshman List according to TopDrawerSoccer. Edvardsen was also named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team, TopDrawerSoccer's All-Rookie First Team and College Soccer News' Second Team All-Freshman. He appeared in 18 games last season for VCU, scoring two goals and adding one assist.
VCU was tabbed second in the 2018 A-10 Preseason Poll, just behind preseason favorite Fordham. The Rams received four first place votes and 149 total points while Fordham received six first place votes and 159 total points.
"I think it's going to be another very strong year for the A-10 and I can't wait to see how the season plays out," Head Coach David Giffard said.
Even with the loss of several graduated seniors, this team's mindset on the upcoming season remains focusing on improving and being positive to one another.
"Right now everything is starting to click the way we want it to be. Everybody's giving a full effort of being positive with one another and it's getting better every day," senior midfielder Peter Pearson said.
VCU will play at home 11 times this season at Sports Backers Stadium, including four consecutive home matches to begin the season. Following this weekend's set of games, VCU will play host to Temple (Aug. 31) and Santa Clara (Sept. 2) at home. The Rams conclude their regular season by playing seven of their last 12 games at home.
VCU's non-conference slate includes home games against Pittsburg (Sept. 11), in-state rival Old Dominion (Sept. 19) and traditional NCAA power Akron (Sept. 26).
"Our roster contains inexperienced players but we're loaded with young talent that is hungry and ready to make another deep postseason run. This group has a high ceiling and is capable of not only making it back to the A-10 Championship game, but also a possible NCAA Tournament run as well," Giffard said.